On the writing and reading papers time is your enemy. Sometimes it can seem fairly straightforward to complete an IELTS essay in 40 minutes, but can you do it under exam circumstances when you have just spent 60 minutes doing three readings?
A common mistake – do everything timed
Perhaps the obvious thing to do is to do all your writing and reading timed. I disagree. In fact, I think it’s a big mistake. If you practise that way, you may finish the paper, but I rather doubt you will improve your writing. What is much more likely to happen is that you will repeat all the same mistakes.
How to practise – learn the skills first
My advice is different. Accept that it takes time and practice to improve your reading and writing skills. Concentrate first on learning the skills – do not worry over much about time. Start doing your essay in 60 minutes (for example) and as you get nearer the exam, do it 2/3 minutes more quickly each time. When you can write a good essay in 40 minutes, then you know you are ready.